E3: Ubisoft teases (again!) with Michael Jackson


Somebody at Ubisoft must be a big fan of the films “Jaws” or “Predator,” where the title characters do not materialize until late in the movie. Or maybe it’s the play “Waiting for Godot” they admire — Godot never shows at all.

Why else would they — for the second year in a row — devote a chunk of time at their E3 event to a highly anticipated video game, and not show any footage from the game?

Ubisoft ended its show on Monday with a wonderfully loud, energetic, amped-up dance routine featuring six of the talented performers from Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” concert rehearsal documentary. They were giving us a taste of what we can expect from the game Ubisoft is developing in conjunction with Jackson’s Estate (due later this year on all major platforms.)

Or at least we assume it was a taste — they didn’t show any actual game footage. Just dancers.

Don’t get me wrong, the dancers were amazing and the show-us-more-game-video loving crowd lapped it up. But I left wondering, wasn’t this just like last year, when big-giant-huge title for the holiday season “Avatar” was teased, but not shown, by Mr. Avatar himself, James Cameron?

For Yahoo, Tiger scandal better than Michael Jackson

Celebrity deaths are big news. But nothing warms a media executive’s heart more than a good celebrity sex scandal.

“God bless Tiger. This week we got a huge uplift.” Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told a crowd of investors in New York on Tuesday at the UBS Media and Communications Conference. Reuters


Bartz noted that the Tiger Woods story has filtered through all of Yahoo’s key online properties, from front page news to websites dedicated to sports and gossip.

Grey’s, Wives on Hulu from today

Starting today Disney content will go live on Hulu, consumating a deal that was struck earlier this year to join the two-year venture with NBC Universal, News Corp and Providence Equity Partners.

The first few shows include popular fare from ABC such as Grey’s Anatomy,  Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty. This means Hulu is going from strength to strength in locking down its leadership as the place for watching TV on the Web.

Part of the attraction of Hulu is that it is free for U.S. residents, since most of the content can be watched for free over the air in the U.S. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Hulu’s owners added a paid service as part of the TV Everywhere initiative players like Time Warner have been promoting. Such a ‘paid-for’ service would actually be free if the customer is already a paying cable/satellite TV subscriber.

Did Vibe miss the online vibe?

Here’s an entry from our very own Reuters New York equities team summer intern Chavon Sutton. (Thanks, Chavon!)

Did Vibe magazine, the print ambassador of hip-hop culture, voice and style, pass up a chance to survive last year?

Vibe, the baby of acclaimed producer Quincy Jones (the composer who produced the late Michael Jackson’s mega-hit albums, “Thriller” and “Off the Wall,”), said earlier this week that it was shutting down immediately.

TMZ got the scoop, will it see the money?

Time Warner-owned celebrity news website TMZ may have been first in reporting the death of Michael Jackson, but is all the buzz around the site going to turn into cash?

It’s a question the LA Times asks in this article, pointing out that the Jackson scoop — the biggest in TMZ’s history — comes at a time when the TMZ’s tactics and “tabloid sensibilities” have angered publicists and government officials, made other journalists reluctant to cite TMZ, and even caused advertisers to shy away from putting their messages on the site.

In a piece last Friday, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter pointed out that even though TMZ looks good because it beat all rivals with the Jackson news, the “Jackson family said the time of death was 5:26 p.m. Eastern, several minutes after TMZ’s report, leading some to wonder whether the Web site looked accurate only in hindsight.”

In death Michael Jackson gives life to media

As the world mourned his death, Michael Jackson gave new life to all kinds of media – online, broadcast, print tabloids and broadsheets as the public appeared to lap up the extravagant reflections on the singer’s highs and lows.

T-shirts were sold and TV specials were planned giving a sense of drama reminiscent to the death of Diana Princess of Wales.

In newspapers like the New York Times, Jackson, 50, took over much of the Friday front page. Forget the political uproar in Iran, which has dominated headlines in recent days or the adulturous governor of South Carolina, or even the demise of Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett.

YouTube: And the beat no longer goes on — in the UK

It’s Day 2 of YouTube versus PRS For Music, the British organization that collects royalties for songwriters and publishers whenever songs are broadcast over the air and the Web or performed in public venues .

As you may know by now, YouTube started blocking UK visitors from watching professional music videos and users’ videos that feature licensed music. The reason, as usual, is each side said the other guys are being unreasonable in their fee negotiations. YouTube says PRS wants many times more than a previous deal, while PRS says YouTube actually wants to pay less than they currently pay.

There was some signs of progress today when PRS put out a statement:

Talks between PRS for Music and Google took place today to discuss the licensing of YouTube following Google’s sudden decision to block premium video content on the service in the UK.

YouTube gets into online shopping

thriller-video.jpgYouTube, which has nailed the science of online video sharing, is now getting into online shopping by partnering with the likes of and iTunes.

The shop links will be just below the YouTube clips and will eventually sell a wide variety of items and merchandise related to the millions of clips on the site including: MP3s, TV shows, movies, concert tickets, books, maybe, even buy the designer sunglasses your favorite star is wearing in a clip. 

So soon you’ll be able to buy the Michael Jackson song playing in the background while watching the hilarious clip of Filipino prisoners doing their reenactment of the ’Thriller’ video.